a19 bomx at 00 004829 December 2018: A very respectable eighth place in the super-G in Bormio, Italy. What an end to the year!As the obligatory 2018 year-end flashbacks are played on TV, I already know that living in Switzerland is like living in a dreamland: there have been no wars or famines and our country has a relatively low rate of unemployment. Of course, nonetheless the fate of individuals have a very real effect on me. But hand on heart, looking across national borders – let alone continental borders – things are generally very good for most of us here in Switzerland.

Even as a young person, the 2018 year-end flashbacks on the TV just reinforce how quickly time flies by. Is 2018 really over already?!!! What was still the future yesterday is now the past. Scanning the year's headlines clearly demonstrates how fleeting everything is. What was important yesterday is forgotten today. However, I will personally never forget 2018 from a sporting perspective: my five Junior World Championship titles in Davos, my incredible World Cup final in Are, my two Swiss Elite Championship titles in Davos and finally my first top-ten World Cup result in Val d’Isère will be amongst my best memories for years to come. All represent important steps along my journey. Anyone celebrating such successes after having to take several months off due to an injury will be feeling especially grateful and humble. Nothing can be taken for granted and good health is the greatest thing you can ask for. "Good health!" is the world's most important, and justifiably so, most expressed desire – irrespective of whether it's 2018 or 2019.

So as the 2018 year-end flashbacks are played on the TV, we might feel compelled to look back on the painful times as well. The death of my good colleague and exemplary team member Gian Luca Barandun has affected me deeply. The pain of having to say goodbye to Gian Luca far too soon was excruciating, but I am all the more grateful today that I could call you, Bari, a friend and team mate for many years – the future and our fast-paced day and age will never change this. You will always have a special place in my heart. Over the past few months, I have been so impressed by how we have helped each other as a Swiss ski team following the loss of 'Bari' and how we have managed to rise again and become even stronger as a team. That was all part of 2018.

a19 vimgs ag 08 01018 December 2018: the first time in the top 10 in the World Cup! Seventh place in the giant slalom in Val d’Isère, France. Quel plaisir!And so as the 2018 year-end flashbacks are played on the TV, it will almost be time to pack my Swiss ski bags once again. Today at noon, on the 25 December, it's that time of year again. Sitting at my laptop, I'm quickly writing the last few words. The two days of much-appreciated rest and relaxation in Buochs went all too quickly. I enjoyed spending some reflective time at home with my parents, my sister Alina as well as other family members and friends. I also enjoyed the fine food, some great laughs and some carefree time with my loved ones. Thank you!

I would also like to thank my technician Chris, my trainers from Swiss Ski, my suppliers, all my fans and partners as well as the media representatives that follow and support me one way or another throughout the year. I look forward to your continued support in 2019! Also, 2018 was a year like no other for me.
I wish you the very best of health and hope 2019 is an all-round good new year!

Yours, Marco



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